Thursday, August 11, 2011

Metal corners, badges, and trademarks

If you stalk Ebay for accordions, you will have noticed the preponderance of old one-row boxes for sale. They come from a variety of companies, usually German, but were made in different countries. In time, most of these companies folded up or were purchased by larger companies like Hohner. Such instruments were produced in large numbers at various quality levels -- some were for children, some were for recreational play by adult amateurs, and some were professional quality instruments. Instruments in this last group, like the instruments by International and Universal, have become popular collector items.

One thing I like about this type of instrument is the company trademark, similar to the colophon of a publisher, that is stamped upon the accordion's metal corners. Sometimes it wasn't the company's trademark at all but a trademark designed for that particular model, or a badge designed for a particular retailer or dealer.

 Empress Accordeon

 The Beaver Brand - some of these were built by Hohner.

A simple trademark used by Eagle Accordeon

Meinel und Herold sold rebadged accordions, as well as some that were produced independently.

Adolphus Professional Accordeon

International was a company in Germany that did nice work. This company built some of the nice Globe melodeons of the early 20th century.

"Royal Registered Accordion" -- the shape of this badge is the same as the shape as the Empress badge shown at the top of this post. Perhaps the same company is responsible for producing these  two accordions?

I don't know which dealer or retailer the Milano line was built for, but in at least one example I have seen, the Koch company provided reed work (and probably built the rest of the accordion, as well).

Here is a corner from a Koch accordion, and below it is the adjustable screw mechanism that guaranteed the bellows seal was not compromised -- a good idea in an age of flimsy hair gaskets.

Pitzschler made some lavishly decorated accordions which restore nicely.

Ah, the familiar anchor trademark of the Kalbe company.

One of the badges used by Ludwig, featuring the famous pine tree.

Here is the Lyra badge, sold by Bruno and built in Germany.

 This is a badge from Hohner, proclaiming it is the "Best Made," which isn't exactly true.

And another badge by Hohner. This colored portrait badge was used around 1905.

Ludwig made another accordion it called the Parsifal Melodeon. The player of a Parsifal had to be of pure heart in order to pick one up, or else he would turn to dust on the spot. History records several well known instances of this happening.

Two quite different badges by Universal Accordeon - one featuring wheels and one that looks like the badge of another company.

This interesting badge came from an accordion built in Spain and branded "Valencia - El Cid." It follows, then, that the man pictured on the horse is Charlton Heston. 


  1. What a great post!
    I feel like the art of the badge has diminished -- modern accordion makers, with some exceptions (Maugein) don't seem to have as much class.
    Bruno Priez has done some interesting things with cast bronze nameplates ("L'Imaginaire").

  2. Andy, I sincerely wish that more of today's accordion builders would "bring back the badge." Perhaps having an instantly recognizable trademark isn't as important today as it was in the past? At any rate, they make nice bits to collect!

    Bruno Priez's work is fascinating in many ways.

  3. The Castagnaris put huge effort into their name/badge -- some of the wooden ones are fretted out by hand, which is putting a lot of time into something that is decorative. But nothing on the level of style and class like some of the old badges.

  4. Hello, I happened to read your post.
    I would like to add that both metal corners with Universal,
    also marks A. Pitzschler and son were.

    Many greetings from Germany.
    W. Pitzschler

  5. Do you mean the Universal accordions were built by A. Pitzschler? That's great information!

  6. hi i have a ludwig parsifal melodeon in good nick only a couple of things to fix on it was my great grand mothers as they were one of the first settlers on the mornington panisula in victoria au. has no numbers or anything so dont know year of manufacture would like to put a pic up if i can maybe someone can help cheers phil

    1. Sure, Phil, I'd love to have a look at it. Do you have an email address or somewhere I can reach you?



  7. hey, chris. sorry for late reply my email is thanks mate get back to you with a couple of pics

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. I love that lavishly decorated accordions made by Pitzschler. They are really very impressive. Great work and keep sharing.

    Badges Australia

  10. I love that lavishly decorated I love that lavishly decorated accordions made by Pitzschler. They are really very impressive. Great work and keep sharing.
    made by Pitzschler. They are really very impressive. Great work and keep sharing.

    Badges Australia

  11. Your website is the only place i have seen any accordian that has the "Adolphus badge on it. I have one but know nothing about it. Is there anyway to contact you to discuss it further, or could possibly provide information abou this accordian?

    1. Hi Henry, my email is at the top right of the blog.